South Side retail developer eyeing purchase of closed Target stores

DL3 Realty is under contract to buy the buildings at 11840 South Marshfield Avenue and 8560 South Cottage Grove Avenue
By Alex Nitkin | April 01, 2019 03:00PM

Leon Walker, managing partner of DL3 Realty and Target, at 8560 South Cottage Grove Avenue (Credit: Google Maps)

DL3 Realty is looking to resuscitate two South Side retail buildings left empty by Target’s departure on Feb 2.

The South Side developer is under contract to buy both buildings from the retail giant, which still owns the properties at 11840 South Marshfield Avenue and 8560 South Cottage Grove Avenue in the Morgan Park and Chatham neighborhoods, DL3 managing partner Leon Walker told The Real Deal Monday.

The Minneapolis-based retailer drew an uproar from neighbors and political leaders in the fall when it announced it would shutter the stores. The company cited poor sales numbers at both locations but plans to open two stores on the city’s North Side by next year, including one at Fifield Companies’ 220-unit “Logan’s Crossing” complex in Logan Square.

DL3 has not drawn up plans for the properties but will “try to be as creative as possible” in re-imagining them, Walker said. That could mean replacing the buildings or opening them up to uses other than retail.

“These buildings hold an anchor status in the community,” Walker said. “We want to make sure that whatever the future holds for them, that they maintain that anchor status.”

Walker would not disclose the purchase prices for the two stores.

The announcement followed a busy month for DL3. On March 7, Walker cut the ribbon on a Jewel-Osco grocery store his firm helped build at 6014 South Cottage Grove Avenue in Woodlawn. A week later, the Cook County Land Bank Authority selected a proposal by DL3 to raze and replace the historic Washington Park National Bank building at 6300 South Cottage Grove Avenue.

And last week, Sterling Bay announced it would partner with DL3 for an undetermined new development at 67th Street and Wentworth Avenue in Englewood.

Walker’s firm may be best known for the Englewood Square strip mall at the corner of 63rd and Halsted streets, where Whole Foods opened a 20,000-square-foot store in 2016 and was later joined by an array of smaller retailers.

Nedra Sims-Fears, director of the Greater Chatham Initiative community group, said she hopes Walker can apply his “great vision and leadership” to the Chatham building, which was a bedrock destination for neighbors before it closed.

The Target stores dwarf the Englewood Whole Foods, each measuring more than 125,000 square feet. That could open the door to a host of different uses to build up the busy commercial hub at 87th and Cottage, Sims-Fears said.

“We have a lot of landscape companies and logistics firms based here and not a lot of ADA-accessible office space, so to create an office park would be awesome,” Sims-Fears said. “But we would also love to have a destination retailer … and we still need a really good sit-down restaurant in that area.”

A Target spokesperson confirmed on Monday that the company is marketing both properties for sale but declined to comment further.